Brave Soul Seeking

1.png

For soul seeking energy, I go to the ocean by surrounding myself with a sea of turquoise. Cool and calming next to all the red orange brightness and warmth I’ve been dying. Mixed messages of a life fully lived. Warm, hot one moment. Calm, cool and collected the next. I layer colors, layer clothing, layer life.

“ Focus on your bravery, not outcomes.” A wise friend said. “Really? You think I’m brave?”

“Well, of course you are brave. You’re 71. How can one not be brave having lived these many years?”

Yesterday evening, the art gallery was filled with bravery. The women in the room. The fiber art on the wall. It was earthy and alive. As though the fibers in each piece were responding to the conversations filled stories and questions.

“How did you do this?”

“Do you know the story before you begin, or does it evolve?”

“I start with the title. The story reveals itself.”

“Is your home filled with your art?”

“This is my first show. I’m new to fiber art.”

I was seeking turquoise in as many pieces of art I could find. Sometimes buried. Sometimes a pop. Leaning towards teal, I wanted a sea of calm to surround me. Something to reach my heart and find its way to my words and reveal the consequences of aging.

I really thought it would be easier. That age would be a time of coasting of emotions. I didn’t expect heartache and pain to continue as friends pass on, children suffer, grandchildren struggle and I still think I can fix everything.

Today, I will focus on formulas. Seeking turquoise. Finding more spiritual growth and empathy. I will let this sea of teals, blue and green become my shapeshifter.

IMG_0180.jpg

The older we become,

the more need for bravery. One of the consequences of age is we see more. We experience more. We must be brave. There are more people in our life and their lives touch us. Our creative process is how we prevent suffering from overtaking us and leave room in our hearts to comfort others without taking on their pain.

I Gotta Have It

1.png

Larry has been at our dollhouse on Darley for the past two nights. He is preparing the side yard for my she-shed-studio. We want to be sure it is set far enough back so there will be room to haul dirt or other building materials. I stayed at the cabin. It may have been a mistake watching the opening scenes of "Voyeur." GayTalese takes us through his office. He saved everything. And it's very organized. The secret ingredient for making anything artful. And "Voyeur" asks provocative questions. Who's life is worth exploring? How do we weed through truth and lies in personal narratives. Is telling worth it? And can there be redemption for subject and writer? Whoa! That's a lot to process for one evening.

As I pack up to move into a smaller home, I now realize I can't toss things in plastic boxes. My packing must adhere to the principles of organization. All my handmade journals go in one box. Art and artist books go in another. Books and magazines I've been published in go in their own box. Books inscribed by the author are their own collection.

Spike Lee's new series of "She's Got To Have It" is equally thought provoking. Following a young black woman's perpetual implementation of her feminist agenda is welcome. Nola never misses a beat. Intellectual and hot. She is clear about who she is and who she is not. So far, my favorite song is in the second episode at 12 minutes. I replayed it several times. Dancing as I washed dishes, Netflix cut me off from too many rewinds. In episode three it is clear our choices as women need never be questioned. I look forward to wearing my LBD at my party. And taking my own advice. Add color.

 LBD with color

LBD with color

Expressing My Womanness

1.png

Yesterday we had a big discussion about the shed/studio at our new dollhouse. Larry wants to wait. I don't mind waiting, but not too long. He said what if I don't like the dollhouse? I have to like it. Of course there's always a chance there may be something but we cannot be cavalier. We need to approach this as the right decision with the right options given our parameters.

This is how it turned out. We have worked, lived, and raised children, near and from afar. This is who we have become. What we can afford. And the timing is right. That's the most difficult. Timing. There is an ease at the cabin, for me more so than Larry. In four months he will be 79. He comes in huffing. Tired after a few hours working outside. He hates that fact. There is more firewood to gather. We like to build a fire on cold mornings and see how seldom we need to turn the furnace on during the winter.

The shed is an issue because it is what I need to continue my art to wear operation. Even with a studio elsewhere there is much I need to do at home. (The wind has been blowing hard all night. There is a banging against the house. What is that? Who will do the repair?)

Today I am reading Austin Kleon's blog. https://austinkleon.com/ He's writing about Virginia Woolf and "A Room of One's Own." He’s emphasizing the money part. “A room of one’s own is nice, but if you can’t buy the time to sit in it, what good does it do you?” Virginia had an inheritance which I don't have. I'm working on a 20 year business plan instead. When I am 91, I want to make art to wear, wear art and express my womanness.

MeListening.jpg

Create the Future

1.png

"The best way to predict the future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

It is remarkable. We are going to go from a 17 acre farm with a 1700 square-foot cabin, a garden shed, and a studio and move into a two bedroom 1000 square foot dollhouse with a 10,000 square foot yard. "I can manage this," Larry said.

IMG_6213 (1).jpg

It sounds like a, "how could you?" Truth is, we must. I do not want to be blindsided. I want to control my move away from the cabin, much as I love it. Neither of us could manage it alone. Age is upon us. I'm into thinking positive, mindfully. All the mowing, and I know I would not want to live there alone. It would be too stressful. We will keep our books and art, guitars and music. We will have a bedroom with a queen size bed and a guest bed to escape to in case of snoring. I can use the living room as my atelier, or find another studio nearby. Strange, yes. But a must.

The kitchen opens onto a tiny sunroom with glass sliding doors. Hard to keep the heat in. I'll miss my wood stove. I'llwrap up in a blanket and get one of those space heaters that glow like fire. Cozy for early morning gazing into the backyard with two large trees and an old shed. "A tear down," Larry said. "I can fix it," he added. There is enough room for another shed for inventory and supplies, if necessary.  

IMG_6223.jpg

The goal is to sell the cabin, come spring. Pay off the mortgage on the dollhouse. In a way, it will be our own tiny assisted living with family and friends nearby. 

IMG_3861.jpg

Ripe and Tough

What pages were torn out of the journal? No one will ever know, tossed to the floor, not crumbled, no chance of going insane as Hemingway suggested. Do you think he began to crumble his pages before his depression and eventual suicide as implied in the movie we watched last night "Hemingway & Gellhorn." Being kind to ourselves, my husband and I are reading Hemingway out loud to each other. We skipped last night and watched a movie instead. Not sure it was a good idea. And, I'm not sure aboutNicole Kidman's bright red lipstick as she portrayed Gellhorn during her war correspondent days. Was it a fashion statement? Was it to imply that she was ripe in contrast to her later years when she wore no lipstick on at all? Or that she was tough, could handle anything? As an ageless goddess I am in my later years. I like to wear red lipstick. For me it's about color and balance and brightness. Today I will iron red fabric. A bright rusty red. Silk and linen. Ripe and tough.

Balance

Usually when I think of hot flash, I think red. In hindsight, I think green. It’s been awhile since I have had a hot flash, however, the things I learned during that time are tremendous.

The transition occurred naturally in my body signifying a new beginning was about to happen. A time to take care of me. The children would soon be grown and on their own. I remember that time well. It was like the color green, a time of growth and balance. A time of growth into a mature, wise woman. A time to balance past desires and future dreams. 

I remember standing in the University of Kentucky bookstore. I had just enrolled in classes, a returning student, excited to enter this mental world of thinking, studying, validating opinions, discovering new ones, making art, when suddenly my body began to heat up. Little beads of perspiration appeared. 

It was uncomfortable. My back pack was slung across my body which was covered with many layers; a vest, a sweater, a jacket, a scarf around my neck. The heat continued to rise. There was nothing I could do. 

At home I could strip down. Not here, in the bookstore. In my helplessness I saw I had no control. I saw endurance. I stood there, the heat continued rising. Within that moment I recognized an endurance I intended to embrace.  

This was the beginning of a new period of growth that I would not resist, that I would embrace fully and become the wise woman I was meant to be. It just happens. There is no avoiding it.  

I am the mother.  I told the caller on the phone seeking to speak with the mother in charge.

I am in charge. I know what I am doing. Oh what a glorious balanced path to reach. As I walk in the woods this morning I see that the green cannot get any greener.  This is the color I seek to capture.  

Choose Freely

When you uncover

What you truly

Want in life

Passion rules your garden.

 

    “But you have had an empty nest for a long time,” my sister said when I told her I have found new empty nest insights.

    “Well, yes, that’s true, physically. But my children had not left my head, my mind, my thoughts.”

    Would they ever truly? Probably not, but for sure it was necessary that they move to other rooms in my brain so that my mind could access them at will, not on demand.  

    It began with rewriting my title as Grandmother, the name I wanted to be called. “Too formal,” my daughter said. She chose Grammy. I had had a vision. Unfortunately, it was not the same for the parents of my grandson. Not to discredit their plans, they, after all, are the parents. I stood aside. There is no point in arguing. Lesley Stahl writes in "Becoming Grandma" about a similar discussion with her daughter.   “Then there was the issue of what Jordan would call us.  I told Taylor I’d like to be Granny. 'No way' was her reaction.  'It sounds frumpy.'”

     This was the beginning of my awareness of the degree to which my children have become their own person with their own ideas and plans for their future and strategies for implementation.  

    Of course this had been my goal all along. I raised my children to be intelligent, kind, independent, free thinkers.  

    Kind is the pivotal word. Thank goodness I succeeded.  They now express, with kindness, that their free-thinking, independent plans aren’t in alignment with mine. 

     Rule # 1

    No dropping by

     And so began the task of making appointments to visit.

     The nest in my mind is emptying, making room for a new me.  In her book, "Goddesses Never Age," Dr. Christiane Northrup explains, “Agelessness is all about vitality, the creative force that gives birth to a new life.”  I achieved menopause. I was now giving birth to the wise woman I am. 

    The issue of how to remove my children’s problems from my mind continued. I realized I could not solve their problems.  Unsolicited advice was received with a smile, yet not heeded, nor welcome. I learned that worry would get me nowhere.  It is the worst kind of worry because I can do absolutely  nothing. At least when I worry about my own problems, I can take action, do something, change something. Not so with adult children.  As young children I could implement consequences or lecture or have long discussions in the car on the drive to school or soccer practice. None of these strategies are currently available.  Now, there is no point to worry. The ultimate letting go has to occur. Don’t worry, I tell myself. I raised them right, did the best I could.  They will figure it out and handle whatever comes along.

    I consult my Garden Girls. They represent the wisdom and power of flowering minds of all my girl friends brought together to create. I wrote about them in my memoir, "The Garden Girls’ Letters and Journal."  They live in my fantasy world.  I invented the Garden Girls to accompany me on my quest to live the layered life of an artist — What does it take to become a Garden Girl? A desire made manifest, to discuss intimacy, passion, wisdom, and authority.

 

The Garden Girls are at an early morning gathering in the woods. No one is clear as to the plan or the direction. Spider-woven fairy handkerchiefs sprinkled in grass lead the way as we follow the instructions on Honeyrose’s invitation: Listen to your intuition and breathe deeply. 

Each girl arrives in her own time.  Artemisia, old, wise and playful in a bark beret, brings violets and greens, the secret ingredient for achieving a powerful menopause. 

This gathering, my dear, is the beginning of unknown inquiries. We have no idea what we are going to inquire about. With blue beads in her hair, Honeyrose, the woman I am to become, says, “Our life is not our circumstances, our life is our story.” I gather the Garden Girls to discuss concerns significant not only to our selves but to every weed, tree and shrub that surrounds us. What I want to know is when does the voice of authority arrive, speculation end, and assertion begin?

Our altar in the woods is a large multi-level out-cropping of smooth rocks. We each find a place for the gifts we brought, then begin looking for our perfect spot to sit and speak and receive each other’s messages. As far as I can tell everyone is accounted for. Honeyrose reads from Sage, the thinker’s, latest letter. “Freedom is the ability to create passion,” Sage wrote. She had become a ritual queen in a colony of women up north. Rose has a picture of her back home on her own altar wearing a twisted green head band. “And our passion,” Honeyrose enunciates, “gets stirred every time we choose freely.”

 

    Today, I choose freely.  And create passion. I eat plenty of greens and focus on green as I shibori dye silk. I read Deepak Chopra’ new book, "Super Genes."  He emphasizes the importance of lifestyle choices. It’s where new growth takes place. Of course, green is what is needed. It is the color of growth and balance and self-reliance. Growing allows me to increase my value and confidence.  I remain sexy.  I have evolved into my own voluptuous self. I do what I want, whenever possible. Now that my children have grown, I am free to live from the wisdom of my soul.  This is where I truly flourish; this is my second spring. My flowers are in full bloom. Blossoming.

 Arashi shibori

Arashi shibori

 Silk crepe circle vest

Silk crepe circle vest

 Hand dyed shibori silk, green mixed with blue.  Purchased crushed rayon, my boat neck tunic design with painted signature

Hand dyed shibori silk, green mixed with blue.

Purchased crushed rayon, my boat neck tunic design with painted signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green the Color of Growth

Of course, green is what is needed. 

It is the color of balance and self-reliance. 

The essence of your body is 

    the ever flowing river 

the ever winding road

movement and rhythm

    an idea, constantly evolving 

    a cloud full of energy, swirling

Let your soul skin cloak be the art you wear,  your guide.

As you bloom

find grace.

Access your deepest resource

    nature’s intellegence

Sit in your garden regularly

Let your blooming be an inspiration

And continuous revelation

Refashion your purpose in life

Refashion your lifestyle

Your lifestyle

is where your new growth takes place. 

Your body knows what's good for you.  

    Listen. Seize her wisdom.

    Know when to walk away

And

    Stay focused on your amazing creative journey

You Can Wear Any Color

 Blue green, crepe tuniic with devore shawl

Blue green, crepe tuniic with devore shawl

Walking in the woods yesterday, I saw the same brown I am dyeing for a mother of the bride statement kimono and tank dress.  It was in the leaves left over from last fall; deep, rich, rusty, copper, with a touch of dark forest green.

Even though the leaves came from last fall, now aged into late spring, they held their vibrancy.  Who would think that the colors of spring would include the age of fall? Clearly, every color can be found any season.

How did I get on my color path, my artful path, my path of self expression?  

I let go.

One day when I was on my lunch hour from my first office job, I was drawn into a store that sold a more expensive line of clothing than I was inclined to buy.  I was 20.  I was a Sears or JC Penney girl. It was a risky step.  I decided that I would try on pants and blouses that were bright and brilliant. The pants were orange and fuchsia.  They were each paired with a floral blouse. They were not the bright and brilliant colors of summer.  They were subtly toned, as the leaves are when they slowly change. Not my usual choice.  I gazed in the mirror and said to myself,  “I hate this. This is not me.”  I have strong opinions.  I bought it, anyway.  I was tired of buying the same styles and colors over and over.  I wanted to feel what it was like to wear something different.  A relatively safe risk.  

My dad loved it.  I never thought of him as a stylish person, in his USAF uniform or week end overalls. In hindsight, as I peer into his old black and white photographs, I discover he had a very strong since of composition. His was not the only compliment I received.  This began my journey, not only of exploring colors, also in taking risks with self expression.

You can wear any color, dare I be so bold to say.  It’s not about what looks good on you, it’s about what makes you feel wonderful.  You are part of nature.  All colors are part of nature.  Find yourself in the rainbow, it is very large, full and forgiving, as you are. It’s not that you can’t wear part of the rainbow at anytime, its that some parts have blended and rearranged so the derivative is no longer recognizable.  

In order to determine your place in the rainbow, remember your favorite season.  Find it by listening to your body.  To which season are you most drawn? Listen to your friends and their compliments. Write it all down.  Are you spring where the colors are soft, or summer, where the colors are bright, bold, and brilliant? Are you sometimes a little of both?  Getting to know your self through color is an exciting journey you are now ready to embark upon.  

Are you most present in the toned leaves of fall and their bright counterpart, jewels against the sky?  Are you in your element in the deep rich and luscious shades of winter, the spruce, and burgundy?  All these seasons come and go as you do. You know what you like.  What feels good.  

Let’s begin with your favorite season, where memories have lived the fullest. Coffee, chocolate, semi sweet, bitter or milky?  It’s the season you are drawn to that will determine your palette. How to choose your palette?  Ask, what do I like?  Then break it down.  

Let me start with brown.  Deep dark, aged, fall leave brown.  Browns emerge from all color.  The brown I am seeking now emerges from yellow and purple, her compliment.  Purple and yellow are buried in my new found brown.  They create copper and rust.  As the exploration continues, many colors will appear.  And they will be your colors, ready to mix and match and enjoy.  They will tell a story.  They will tell your story.

You can wear any color. It’s easy.  Nature has already begun to cleanse your canvas when she added grey to your hair.  If you choose color to you hair, are you more drawn to yellow or blue? If you have highlights, are they gold or ash.

Shall we collaborate?  Just tell me what you feel.  This is how you will tell me who you are.  What do you like?  How tall are you?  How full are your hips?  What are the colors of your skin, your eyes, your hair, (is it dyed or natural)? The answer to these questions are the beginning of designing your personal, art to wear, composition.